Virtues and Vices In Early Texts on Pastoral Care
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193 Franciscan Studies 62 (2004) VIRTUES AND VICES IN EARLY TEXTS ON PASTORAL CARE The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 can undoubtedly be counted among the formative events in medieval history.1 Pope Innocent III successfully reinforced the pastoral responsibility of the clergy towards all the faithful and fundamentally redefined the relation between the Church and the Christian individual. All Christians were required to make a full confession of all their sins and to take part in Holy Communion at least once a year.2 Priests had to be qualified to fulfill their duties by preaching, hearing confession, imposing penance and by educating their flock both morally and theologically in the confessional interrogation. An important side effect of this new rule was the rise of a great number of different new genres of pastoral texts, leading to a true discursive explosion with deep impact on the literate culture of the later Middle Ages. These new genres include confessionals, catechetical handbooks, preaching aids, collections of exempla, mirrors of princes and laymen and many others.3 The mendicant orders who received their This article results from the research program “A Genealogy of Morals: The Cardinal Virtues in Medieval Discourse, 500-1500,” co-sponsored by the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO) and the Catholic University of Nijmegen. I would like to thank Joesph Goering, Michael Hohlstein, Krijn Pansters and Bert Roest for their comments and supportive remarks and Master Bob Newmark for his help in transforming this text into readable English. 1 On the Fourth Lateran Council, see e.g. John C. Moore, Pope Innocent III (1160/611216 ) (Leiden/Boston, 2003), 228-252 (with further references); Marion Euphemia Gibbs, Bishops and Reform, 1215-1272 with Special Reference to the Lateran Council of 1215 (Oxford 1934), esp. 111-173; E.J. Arnould, Le Manuel des Péchés: Étude de literature religieuse Anglo-Normande (xiiime siècle) (Paris, 1940), 1-40. 2 Acts of the Fourth Lateran Council, ch. 21 (Omnis utriusque sexus), Latin Text and English translation in Norman P. Tanner ed.) Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, vol. 1 (London, 1990), 245. See on the enforcement of confession and participation in the Eucharist e.g. Thomas N. Tentler, Sin and Confession on the Eve of the Reformation (Princeton, 1977), 19-27. 3 See esp. Leonard E. Boyle, “The Fourth Lateran Council and Manuals of Popular Theology,” in Thomas J. Heffernan, ed., The Popular Literature of Medieval England (Knoxville, 1985), 30-43; idem, “Summae Confessorum,” in Les Genres Littéraires dans les Sources Théologiques et Philosophiques médiévales (Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982), 227-237; idem, “The Fourth Lateran Council and manuals of popular theology´; idem, “The Interconciliar Period 1179-1215 and the Beginnings of Pastoral Manuals,” in Filippo Liotta ed., Miscellanea Rolando Bandinelli Papa Alessandro III (Siena, 1986), 43-56; David L. D 194 ALBRECHT DIEM recognition shortly after the Lateran Council in order to support the new pastoral aims, started to play a key role in the production of new pastoral texts. Franciscan theologians such as Alexander of Hales († 1245),4 Bonaventure († 1274), John of Wales († 1285),5 John Pecham († 1292),6 Servasanto da Faenza († ca. 1300)7 and Jean Rigaud († 1323) are among the most influential contributors to the new program of pastoral care.8 Most of the new pastoral texts were produced for the purpose of improving the qualifications of those responsible for pastoral care: friars and parochial priests. The texts were written not only to ensure that a priest’s teaching, actions and moral conduct correspond with Christian doctrine and morals, but also that his pastoral activities had their intended effects on the ordinary faithful. Some pastoral texts aimed to support a priest in his attempts to enforce a system of control and discipline on the objects of pastoral care and to assess or identify their sinful behavior. Other texts intended to transmit basic theological and ethical knowledge to the uneducated faithful or to only superficially theologically trained pastors. 'Avray, The Preaching of the Friars (Oxford, 1985), 64-131; Norman Tanner, “Pastoral Care: the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215,” in G.R. Evans, A History of Pastoral Care (London/New York, 2000), 112-125. Surveys of pastoral...